Young woman experiencing symptoms of arthritis in the knee

Although there are several different types of arthritis that people suffer from, they all involve joint pain in one or more regions of the body.

Oftentimes, arthritis pain comes on gradually, and individuals learn to live with the pain on a daily basis.

Untreated arthritis can result in severe and permanent joint damage, so it is in a patient’s best interest to begin treatment as soon as possible.

Here is a discussion of the early signs of arthritis, as well as the average early onset arthritis age and when it’s time to see a doctor based upon the first signs of arthritis observed.

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Overall Symptoms and Signs of Arthritis

These are the most common symptoms and signs of arthritis that people experience during various stages of the disease:1,2,3

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint redness
  • Joint warmth
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Joint deformity

Early Signs of Arthritis

While some signs of arthritis develop and worsen with time, other symptoms are often present at the onset of the disease. Common early signs of arthritis are morning stiffness,4 fatigue,5tingling,6 and numbness of the joints.

Individuals with early onsite arthritis may feel unusually fatigued doing normal daily activities, and this fatigue may come or go on certain days. Tingling and numbness may be mild sensations in the beginning. Stiffness in the morning that only lasts a few minutes is often an early warning sign of a degenerative form of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis. Meanwhile, individuals who experience morning stiffness that lasts a few hours may be feeling an early warning sign of rheumatoid arthritis or another form of inflammatory arthritis.6

Early Onset Arthritis Age Range

In regards to rheumatoid arthritis, for example, the average arthritis age of diagnosis in adults is between 30 and 50.7 Therefore, the early onset arthritis age is anything less than 30 because people of any age can actually develop this form of arthritis.

It is a common misconception that one is “too young” to have arthritis. But in fact, about half of arthritis patients are under the age of 65. While osteoarthritis is more closely associated with elderly adults and most people over 60 have at least some degree of osteoarthritis,8 the early onset arthritis age for this this condition is between 20 and 40.9

What Does Arthritis Feel Like?

Arthritis feels like pain in the joints, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. In addition to the early signs of arthritis described above, individuals who are in the early stages of developing arthritis may experience general weakness,7 difficulty sleeping,10 loss of appetite,6 and weight loss. It is also common to have dry mouth, dry eyes, eye discharge, or chest pain early-on.

When to Seek Treatment for Signs of Arthritis

If unexplained joint pain persists or worsens, it is time seek the experience of a trained medical professional. It is common to begin the treatment process by making an appointment with a primary care physician, who may refer the patient to an arthritis specialist, called a rheumatologist.

A physician may recommend using arthritis pain relief creams, such as JointFlex, oral medications, joint injections, or perhaps weight reduction based upon the early warning signs of arthritis. However, it’s important to remember that a prompt diagnosis can help preserve joint function and mobility for many years to come.

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4. What makes my joints stiff in the morning? Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 18, 2018
5. Fatigue & Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from
6. Ezerioha, M. (2016). RA Symptoms: How Do You Diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis?  Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from
7. Kontzias, A. (2017 July). Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The Merck Manual: Consumer Version. Retrieved October 19, 2018 from,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/joint-disorders/rheumatoid-arthritis-ra.
8. Osteoarthritis. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from,P00061.
9. Osteoarthritis causes. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from
10. Sleep problems with arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 19, 2018 from
11. When to make an appointment with your doctor. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 19, 2018 from